The guided walking holidays below include some on the most beautiful, atmospheric and unique parts of woodland, forest and jungle inside the world, from your rainforests of Costa Rica on the taiga of Finland. Among them could be the Waitutu Forest inside far south of New Zealand’s South Island about the Hump Ridge Track, surely the spiritual home of Tolkien’s Ents.
Cévennes National Park, France
The Cévennes is often a maze of deep river gorges featuring steep hillsides covered with forests of sweet chestnut, beech and oak, then pine and spruce at higher altitudes. Wild boar, deer, otters, beavers plus the extravagantly horned mouflon (wild sheep) populate the Cévenol conservation area. Highlights add some mountain village of L’Espérou (4,035ft), the Tarn and Jonte gorges, the Aven Armand cave using its giant stalactites/mites as well as the surreal rock formations with the Causse Noir.
Forests of New England, US
No bucket report on forest walking holidays could well be complete without “New England inside the Fall”. The White Mountains of New Hampshire, the Green Mountains of Vermont along with the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts are definitely the epicentre with this annual extravaganza of colour. No need for Photoshop here. Without the structure associated with an A to B itinerary, this tour connects multiple options of guided day walks from accommodation in the variety of locations throughout New England.
La Palma, Canaries
The Canary Islands are volcanic however age and volume of recent volcanic activity have formulated startlingly different ecosystems varying from deserts to lush forests. The island of La Palma is renowned for the latter, especially the green rainforests in the north-east and also the caldera on the Taburiente volcano - a National Park - using its thick pine forests, freshwater streams and eroded rock formations. The entire island is usually a designated Unesco biosphere reserve attracting hikers from all of over the world.
Taiga forests, Finland
The taiga, Finland’s remote wilderness of forest and lakes just beneath the Arctic Circle and also a stone’s throw on the Russian border, has wolves, lynx, bears, wolverines, pine martens, elk and reindeer. You’ll be trekking with the Hossa hiking area, and that is known due to its excellent fishing in crystal-clear lakes, while remaining in simple guesthouses (some lit only by candles). You can go canoeing and, within the final day, the hike through forest wilderness passes Värikallio (“Colour Rock”) having its 4,000-year-old rock paintings.
Jungles of Borneo plus the Malaysian Peninsula
Humid, equatorial rainforests have a very very different atmosphere to your forests of more temperate climes but you are also ecosystems with some on the highest amounts of biodiversity about the planet. This new trek in the jungles on the Taman Negara National Park - one on the oldest rainforests inside the world, going back 130 million years - also visits the montane forests with the Cameron Highlands, as well as the summit of Mt Kinabalu, the biggest mountain in Malaysia.
Forests on the Himalayan foothills, India
The far north of India within the foothills with the Himalayas, not far through the borders with Nepal and Tibet, is usually a hidden whole world of small traditional villages, deep wooded valleys and high, wide ridges with spectacular views with the mountains beyond. This trip explores the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary within the remote Kumaon Hills, following footpaths linking the villages and farms winding through forests of pine and oak. The bird every day life is spectacular and leopards are now and again seen.
Hill country heights trek, Sri Lanka
This walk begins from the hill country of Sri Lanka, having virgin forest and wooded valleys before checking out the cloud forest and rich biodiversity of Horton Plains National Park. Descending south on the hills, Sri Lanka’s “dry zone” is protected in dense, impenetrable jungle which is home for the Udawalawe National Park, famous due to the herds of elephants, wild buffalo, deer and leopards. The trek ends within the coast after some time to relax from the sea.
Hump Ridge Track, New Zealand
The Waitutu forest while on an escarpment from the far south of New Zealand’s South Island has been tagged by Dr David Bellamy as “probably the main forest from the world”. It is also the living embodiment of J R R Tolkien’s forest in the Ents in The Lord on the Rings. This 33-mile circuit climbs through podocarp and beech forest for the summit in the Hump Ridge, searching over a number of uplifted marine terraces, each one of these 100,000 years much older than the last.
Kokoda Trail, Papua New Guinea
Legendary in Australia, the Kokoda Trail over the forests with the Owen Stanley Mountains in Papua New Guinea was the location where the Australian army turned back the advancing Japanese over the Second World War. A tough journey of a hike along stunningly beautiful jungle paths, that is one on the world’s great adventure treks, brimming with amazing stories of bravery using the artefacts of war still being discovered inside the depths on the jungle. This year could be the 75th anniversary with the Kokoda campaign, with a number of special events and commemorations planned.
Wildlife and forests of Costa Rica
Staying in properties awarded the Certificate of Sustainable Tourism, this itinerary includes Costa Rica’s lush Central Valley, the misty higher altitudes on the Monteverde Cloud Forest along with the dense, tropical rainforest of Manuel Antonio National Park before finishing about the forest-fringed beaches with the magical Osa Peninsula within the Pacific Coast. Along the way you will end up guided by local naturalists bringing alive the rich bird life and biodiversity on the forests.
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